Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Obama Impersonator Hits Too Close to Home

Recently a "Barak Obama" impersonator was hired by some Republicans for a recent gathering. Apparently his jokes hit a little to close to home when he turned attention to some high ranking Republicans. Some of his jokes got a bit of a delayed reaction. In particular when he started taking shots at the Tea Party. Eventually his microphone was cut off and he was removed from stage.

My question is, what did you expect? He is an insult comic. Anyway, you can see his little performance below should you desire.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Death Sentence For a Dog

Yes, this is happening in the 21st century. You see, an ultra-orthodox religious court in an ultra-orthodox area of Jerusalem has sentenced a dog to death by stoning. Wait, it gets even more bizarre once you hear the reason. The judges of the court say the dog has been possessed by the spirit of a dead secular lawyer who insulted them many years ago. So to save the dog from the spirit they have condemned it to death by stoning.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Women Driving

Not what some of you are thinking. This is not going to be a sexist rant about women drivers. Actually, this is about women driving in Saudi Arabia. You see, women driving in Saudi Arabia is not allowed. It is actually illegal for women to drive a car in the Saudi kingdom.

I first heard about this law from my mother a few years back. Her boss is Lebanese. He and his wife are both devout Muslims. They do their prayers, observe Ramadan, she wears a hijab. They were thinking of moving to Saudi Arabia where he had a lucrative job lined up. Until his very independent and strong willed wife heard from her sister about the driving ban and she put an end to the moving to Saudi Arabia talk.

There is a movement in Saudi Arabia which is being overshadowed a bit by everything else going on in the Middle East. It is called Women2Drive and is a collection of women who defy the law in protest. As a supporter of freedom I congratulate them and wish them the best of luck in their cause.

Big changes can often have simple beginnings. The American Civil Rights movement was started by a simple church going woman who was too tired to move to the back of a bus. The Arab Spring was started by a simple street vendor who tried to stand up to police bullying. Who knows what these driving women can accomplish in a country that oppresses women more than almost any other.

Check it out:

Monday, 13 June 2011

Banged up Abroad

I watched most of the series last summer on a recommendation from a friend. The series is called "Locked up Abroad" in North America. It is a documentary series about Americans and Brits who get arrested in third world countries. Actors are used to reenact events while interviews with those actually involved. Everyone I recommended the series to loved it.

As you can expect most of those arrested were trying to smuggle drugs. They ranged from those down on their luck trying to make extra money, addicts who needed money, some who were just not very bright. Though several played themselves off as victims most were not.

The first episode I saw featured two of the dumbest people of the series. These two women from California did their very best to make Americans looks as dumb, vapid, shallow, ignorant and naive as possible. They were persuaded by a friend to bring some cocaine back from Peru after spending a week there. The women thought it would be a good thing, they would get to party it up on the tropical beaches of Peru. . . . . And it was summer which would be the perfect time to do. Peru is a popular tourist destination. Millions go there to see the beautiful mountains and ancient Inca ruins. Exactly the kind of things two vapid California girls could care less about. What they found was a mountainous country that was mostly overcast and rather chilly. Yes, since it was summer in California it meant it was winter in the southern hemisphere, where Peru is. Something else the vapid girls did not realize.

After spending a week in a Peruvian hotel, terrified out of their minds by the drug smugglers, the girls got ready to go home. The cocaine they were to smuggle was perfectly sealed in the casing of suitcases. The entire plot was set to go off without a hitch, except for the vapid girls. They might as well have been carrying a sign that said "drug mule" with them at the air port. When the customs agent asked what they had been up to in Peru they badly mispronounced the names of the two famous Inca sites, Machu Picchu and cusco. So they were taken to a back room where customs agents found the cocaine in their luggage.

Being as vapid and spoiled as they are, they expected to be let onto their plane after explaining the cocaine did not belong to them, they were only smuggling it for a gang in town. So it came as quite a shock when they were hauled to the central jail in Lima. It also came as shock when someone from the US embassy showed up and the girls found out the US government would not tell Peru to let them go. Not sure their logic here, they were trying to smuggle cocaine to the US and expected the US government to help get them freed. Maybe they had never heard of the War on Drugs since it seems there is an awful lot they had never heard of.

So they spent the next three years in a Peruvian prison. They thought it was the worst thing in the world. They were locked up with a collection of other female prisoners. Mostly prostitutes and petty thieves. I hope the two vapid girls realize how lucky they are to have not made it out of Peru with the cocaine. Had they been caught in the US they would have been looking at 10-20 years in a federal prison locked up with cracked out gang bangers.

If this description goes over well I will include more accounts of people "banged up abroad."

Sunday, 12 June 2011

How Important Is The Postal Service?

Trends and services come and go. Sometimes they reappear. Take Light Rail Transit (LRT for short) as an example. Back in the early 1900s LRT became popular. Using light electric rail to move people through cities was a brilliant idea. Electricity had made the idea more practical. As time went on cars became more accessible and common. The idea of LRT slowly faded away in all but some of the largest cities. Now that cars are even more popular and roads are clogged LRT is making a bit of a comeback.

Other popular items have not been so lucky. The telegraph line went obsolete as telephone service became more reliable. Sail boats, which once made galley ships obsolete, became obsolete themselves for everything other than recreation. Which brings me to postal services. What is to happen to them over the next 20-30 years.

Currently in Canada the workers at our postal service, Canada Post, are on strike. They seem to go on strike every few years or so. The older I get the less I care or even notice. Like I am sure all of you, I have taken advantage of advancements in the internet to take care of needs once taken care of through the mail. My bills are paid online, all paperless. I just log in, see how much I owe and pay. My pay from work is direct deposited. I no longer subscribe to magazines, just go on web pages. There is nothing I really need the mail for. I honestly cannot even remember the last time I even sent a letter through the mail.

Most people do not actually need the mail. Those who still use it regularly do so because they are more comfortable with the mail than the modern alternative. Oddly, unlike the switch to cars from LRT, the more the postal services die the better it is for the government. Not having trucks, planes and jeeps hauling tons of paper (made from trees) around only helps the environment. A fact I like to bring up to every old hippie who whines about the fact people do not write letters anymore.

The postal workers are fighting an uphill battle here. They are depending on a dying service for their career. The computer has already made the typewriter obsolete. Sitting on the chopping block now are music CDs and DVD rental stores. Postal services will probably be next on that chopping block. Probably followed by cable TV.  . . . .

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A New Low For Barbie. . . .

As if it was not bad enough that Barbie has, allegedly, caused body image issues for generations of girls. Now apparently she is behind recent deforestation efforts in Indonesia. Well, that is what a new Greenpeace hyperbole campaign.

 You can see both the truth and the Greenpeace exaggeration below.


America (And Canada) Must Look At Itself Now With War On Drugs

The War on Drugs has been going on for a long time in American either officially or unofficially. There are two overriding themes to this war. First is that drugs only exist in America because of foreign drug traffickers and big crime bosses. Second, and more recent, is that drug users are helpless victims who never actually wanted to use drugs but practically had drugs rammed down their throat.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s drug education was far from the reality. We were taught that drugs are horrible things that make you feel instantly bad and that you cannot control your actions when on drugs. Thus forcing you to keep doing more drugs. Furthermore, we were warned about people referred to as "pushers" who would try to force us to buy drugs. They got the name "pusher" because they would push drugs on you. I have never in my life encountered one of these pushers despite working in a bad part of town. Never once has someone tried to "push" me to buy drugs from them.

Much of the money and focus of the War on Drugs has been to keep foreigners and big crime bosses from bringing their product into America. The thought amongst politicians is that if they can stop the flow of drugs from entering the country they have mostly won this war. After all, look at where the big illegal drugs were coming from up until the turn of the century. Heroin coming from Turkey, Pakistan, Burma and Thailand. marijuana coming from Mexico and cocaine coming from South America, mainly Colombia.

One drug though is bucking the trends. That drug is crystal meth. You do not need to grow this drug in large fields like you do with opium. It does not require a high altitude and tropical climate like cocaine does. It can be made anywhere with fairly simple ingredients. Crystal meth is being made all over America in bathrooms, sheds, garages, basements, etc. It does not require a large space to make. Apparently it can be made in a two liter pop bottle.

Crystal meth has become popular in the traditional dug using areas. You know them. Run down areas of cities where there are a lot of the homeless and hookers. It has spread though. The ease of access of crystal meth has made it popular in areas once considered to be drug free. In small towns and rural areas. Popular in states like Missouri, Montana and Iowa. Places people go to escape the vices of the city. Many of the people making the drug are not doing so for profit. They are making it for their own consumption. So now, we are left with a drug that cannot be blamed on foreigners and big crime bosses.

I encourage you to watch the following clip. It is from the Montana Meth Project and is easily the best collection of anti-drug commercials ever made. Be warned though, some are disturbing:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Sarah Pailn's Emails.

Apparently the fact government officials are releasing 24,000 of Sarah Palin's emails is a big deal. It is most read story on the CNN website. MSNBC, who love to take shots at Pailn, have it as their lead story. Whereas Fox News, who love Sarah Palin, have buried the story farther down their site instead going with the events in Syria as their lead story. The BBC News website is also leading with the events in Syria but the Palin email story is their most read. The CBC News website has the Palin email story as the fourth most viewed trailing stories on NATO, E-coli and a senator who hit a moose on the highway. . . . . . . . Only in Canada eh?

It is an interesting commentary on our society that emails of the former governor of the second smallest state in America are so important to so many people in the English speaking world. To their credit, the BBC did lead with events in Syria (The Syrian government has sent the army in to put down a big protest) on their front page. Fox News is giving this story about as much attention as it deserves by putting it under stories on Syria, Newt Gingrich, the UN Environmental Program and the trial of a mother who killed her daughter. Though, if it were Nancy Pellosi's emails that were to be released you have to wonder if the Fox News homepage would look different.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Montreal Police Shooting

For reference I am talking about the recent shooting of two men by the police in Montreal.  One of the dead was an innocent bystander on his way to work at a Montreal hospital. The other was a mentally ill homeless man who was being chance by police after he pulled a knife on them. The shooting  is now the number one national news story in Canada as things like this do not often happen in Canada.

We can expect a lot to come of this incident. There will be a long SIU investigation. There will be an inquiry. There will  be politicians at all levels getting involved. And in the end there will probably be more restrictions placed on police. There will be some who blindly support the police because that is what they do. Even before they bother getting all the facts. And there will be some who will want the officers involved to be severely punished with long jail sentences. Even before they bother getting all the facts.

Those people who want this punishment are in for a big letdown. With the exception of first degree murder criminals do not spend a lot of time in jail in Canada. This case is certainly not first degree murder. It is not even second degree. The most it will be, if it is found the police are at fault, is manslaughter. Or as I like to call it "Mans laughter." And that is if they are found to have acted outside standard police guidelines.

Whichever way it goes we can take one bright spot from this incident. The fact that this shooting is a big deal and is being covered the way it is. There are many countries where shootings like this are common and get little to no press. Though, I know this fact will not be any conciliation to the friends and family of the two dead men.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


In their ongoing attempt to satisfy the huge demand for illegal drugs one Mexican drug cartel has started to create their own armored vehicles to transport drugs. You can read about a recent siesure here:


If nothing else these narco-tanks are impressive. Though not as impressive as the narco-subs used by Colombian drug cartels:


Monday, 6 June 2011

Left Wing? Right Wing? Or Lost?

I do not fit on the typical right-left political spectrum that was taught to me in grade nine. On one hand I am a supporter of personal freedom. I am pretty much a live and let live person. I do not think it is the business of the government to tell the individual what they can and cannot do. Base on what I have said I would be a "left wing" person.

But what about this. I am also against social engineering. I do not believe the government is there to tell us what to think and do. I detest government regulation. It has gone too far. I also detest big government and those who see government as a way to provide lucrative employment to a select few. I beleive government should provide the very basic needs to resident. I am not a fan of ancient Rome or Medieval Europe where taxes go to providing an opulent lifestyle to a select few. So now I look right wing. What is there for me to do?

The truth is there is no spot for me on the political spectrum that exists in the western world today. Some have proposed an alternative to the two dimensional, left right, crap we put up with. Instead the promote a "Diamond" which had room for more than a few political views. Here is one of those:

It is one of many. I am curious to see how others score. I scored as a "Libertarian" which makes me feel vindicated and I am a member of the Libertarian Party of Canada. Our current "left-right" hang-up is the reason the most famous and respected Libertarian in North America, Ron Paul, will probably not get elected president. Though he does try.

Ron Paul, in 2008, ran for the Republican nomination. He is running again in 2012. In reality, he could run in either party since neither of the two American parties really fit Ron Paul. On the surface he seems to be the ideal "Tea Party" candidate. And, if the Tea Party is what they claim to be they would be all over Ron Paul. He wants to reduce government spending like crazy and thus reduce the deficit. He will oppose any pork barrel spending projects. Trouble is he also opposes some key "right-wing" institutions. He wants to cut spending on the military industrial complex. He is an outspoken opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He is also an outspoken critic of the American war on drugs. Now, a lot of people make money off of the military industrial complex, the wars and the war on drugs. So, his chances of winning the Republican nomination are slim.

As a treat I have inlcuded the speech Ron Paul made at the 2008 Republican Convention:

And other nice video titled "Freedom is Popular"

Stop Harper? Or Stop Democracy?

Most of you reading this will not be from Canada. So I will give you a quick rundown. For the past several years the Canadian Prime Minister is a man named Stephen Harper. He became Prime Minister as he leads the Conservative party which has the most seats in parliament. Though the Conservatives had the most seats they did not have most of the seats. Most of the seats were split up amongst three other parties. All this changed on May 2nd. The other three parties got together at the end of March and decided to force an election, which was set for May 2nd. Stephen Harper and his Conservative party then ended up with most of the seats in Parliament through a process known as "democracy" Canadians vote for the party they want in power. There is a very vocal, small, minority in Canada who have a hard time accepting democracy and the fact the Conservatives won the election. That is what this post is about.

Last week a Senate page named Brigette DePape stood in the middle of the senate floor holding a cute sign that said "Stop Harper" while the Governor General was making a speech. You can read about what happened here:


The Conservative-hating CBC news was quick to give Ms DePape plenty of publicity for her stunt. She talked of Canada needing an 'Canadian Spring' similar to the Arab Spring going on the in the middle east. Some people have tried to compare her to the person laying in front of a tank in Tienanmen Square. As Chad Ochocinco would say, Child Please!

The tank guy and Arab Spring protesters were/are fighting for democracy. They are fighting for what we have. To choose their leaders. Like we did. On May 2nd. When Canada chose Stephen Harper. If anything Ms Depape has more in common with the person driving the tank than the guy laying in front of it. By holding up a sign saying "Stop Harper" you are encouraging the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Someone who was elected a MONTH earlier.

Now, I am not a Harper supporter. I actually vote Libertarian. I do respect democracy though. And, contrary to what Ms DePape and her narrow circle of activist friends might think, in a democracy power goes to the one who gets the most votes. Not to the one who yells the loudest. The fact is Stephen Harper became Prime Minister the same way every other Canadian Prime Minister came to power. More Canadians see Harper as less undesirable than the other candidates. Those other candidates included a Quebec separatist, an egotistical socialist, and an even more egotistical ivory tower academic who spent most of his adult life outside Canada.

So what brings someone like Brigitte DePape to do what she did. Well, it is obvious she is an attention seeker. She even admitted her little stunt would not accomplish anything. Why does she have such a hard time accepting democracy though. I have an answer for you if you are prepared to read between the lines. If Ms DePape were truly being honest with herself and the country this is the sign she would have been holding: